Tess's Lament

March 27, 2010 4:35 PM

Music: Dundee. Words: Thomas Hardy. From the fanciful e.p. Shelf Life. Familiarity with Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles will help to contextualise things. A version with a female vocalist would be cool (and more apt). Regardless of the merits of the song, I think this is one of my better recordings in terms of arrangement, production and dynamics.

There are at least two versions of the poem - the main difference being in the last line. This one is from The Faber Book of 20th Century Verse. Again, I've made a couple of minor mistakes in the reading.


I would that folk forgot me quite,
Forgot me quite!
I would that I could shrink from sight,
And no more see the sun.
Would it were time to say farewell,
To claim my nook, to need my knell,
Time for them all to stand and tell
Of my day's work as done.


Ah! dairy where I lived so long,
I lived so long;
Where I would rise up staunch and strong,
And lie down hopefully.
'Twas there within the chimney-seat
He watched me to the clock's slow beat -
Loved me, and learnt to call me sweet,
And whispered words to me.


And now he's gone; and now he's gone; . . .
And now he's gone!
The flowers we potted p'rhaps are thrown
To rot upon the farm.
And where we had our supper-fire
May now grow nettle, dock, and briar,
And all the place be mould and mire
So cosy once and warm.


And it was I who did it all,
Who did it all;
'Twas I who made the blow to fall
On him who thought no guile.
Well, it is finished--past, and he
Has left me to my misery,
And I must take my Cross on me
For wronging him awhile.


How gay we looked that day we wed,
That day we wed!
"May joy be with ye!" they all said
A-standing by the durn.
I wonder what they say o' us now,
And if they know my lot; and how
She feels who milks my favourite cow,
And takes my place at churn!


It wears me out to think of it,
To think of it;
I cannot bear my fate as writ,
I'd have my life unbe;
Would turn my memory to a blot,
Make every relic of me rot,
My doings be as they were not,
And gone all trace of me!

posted by MajorDundee (7 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Gosh, this is lovely. I am seriously envious of the clean sound you are able to get. Your voice has a breathy and ethereal quality I dig.
posted by ORthey at 5:44 PM on March 27, 2010

This is cool, sounds great. I had to read Tess of the D'urbervilles in high school and I don't remember a single friggin thing about it.

If there is/will be a movie adaptation this song should play at the closing credits.
posted by pwally at 6:51 AM on March 28, 2010

Damn, yes, this is great. I've been noticing lately, that you're recording things that sound like you've really put everything into them, while sounding like it's been as easy as breathing.

Excellent stuff, man!
posted by snsranch at 4:46 PM on March 29, 2010

Really well done! You did a fantastic job of varying the arrangement and instrumentation.
posted by edlundart at 8:47 PM on March 29, 2010

Actually I just relistened to this on the way into work this morning. The vocal's absolutely shit! Flat, sharp and all points in between. Well - singing ain't my strong point... And the mix is too brittle. A little cool reflection (and letting the ears settle down) is always a good idea before unleashing something. Of course, I rarely take my own advice! Back to the drawing board.....
posted by MajorDundee at 1:12 AM on March 30, 2010

Jesus, man, your voice is great. Don't be too hard on yourself.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:39 PM on March 31, 2010

This is completely awesome. I love how you've taken old-fashioned language but given the song such a modern feel that it totally works.
posted by dnash at 12:23 PM on April 1, 2010

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